Glancing four years back while gazing ahead

Brenna McNamara

Lately I’ve been swimming around in this pool of uncertainty. I’m a freshman at Kent State and thought I knew myself, my beliefs, my goals, my interests, etc. Of course, like many freshman figure out, I’ve only brushed the tip of the iceberg.

I went through a similar, but more primitive experience my freshman year of high school. I walked into my college prep school decked out in a yellow uniform shirt like the rest of my crew. Of course we had called each other the night before to see which shirt would be most appropriate. Yellow was a perfect choice; black would be far too dark, and pink far too flaky.

So in all my yellow-shirted glory, I flaunted into Walsh on top of the world. I was ready to argue anyone to the death that Weezer was the best band to grace the planet, and Avril Lavigne the biggest poseur. My plan turned drastically wrong when the cool senior boys stood up during lunch one day and shouted “Avril!” at me. I guess my straightened hair, trucker hat, and thrift store shirt made them jump to some uneducated conclusion I was another skater girl wannabe. Apparently, they weren’t down with all the adolescent punk subcultures. If I was wearing a tie it would have been one thing, but I strategically burned all my ties over the summer in an Avril revolt. Geez.

By early in high school I had learned that being punk exudes far too much energy. Besides, the fact that the music is a pitiful footnote to the image, I wanted to break away from a group of people that brushed off Dave Matthews lovers as unworthy. By senior year I expanded my music library and mellowed out some. But even then when I thought all my experience had lead up to this monumental point of my intellectual and personal growth, I didn’t know anything.

OK, so maybe that is an exaggerated and roundabout way to prove my point. I’ve realized maturity isn’t thinking we understand the world, but realizing we have no idea. Maybe I have finally reached maturity on the dawning of my college career, but I still have just as many questions as the Brenna who thought Pinkerton was sent down from the gods.

As a freshman, I look to the years ahead with apprehension and curiosity. It can be an overwhelming thought knowing that our universe is so vast. We could go through a dozen more silly phases before we die and never be in true contact with who we really are. But with the idea that there is an infinite amount of space, time, and exteriors surrounding us in all directions, comes power because this in turn means there is infinite potential surrounding us as well.

Yeah, I may be naive right now, but the fact that someday I will realize that and laugh means that I grew and learned. The most reasonable solution to feeling like we know nothing is to absorb as much knowledge as we can. I want to stretch my mind to the limit, and then further. I wouldn’t give up my awkward days as a high school freshman for anything. It’s all those colorful tidbits that make up who I am. My past gave me a deep respect and passion for music, leading to the “indie” crap and huge variety of other music I love today. Only I don’t think I can go back and laugh at Radiohead anytime soon. But who knows?

Brenna McNamara is a freshman prejournalism major and columnist for the Daily Kent Stater. Contact her at [email protected].